Wealthy Hong Kong expats and residents now heading for Penang

Wealthy Hong Kong expats and residents now heading for Penang

Wealthy Hong Kong expats and residents now heading for Penang

As the violent pro-democracy protests drag on, increasing numbers of Hong Kongers are now buying property in Penang.

Wealthy Hong Kong expats and locals are heading to Penang as the Chinese noose tightens around the home city. Malaysia has always been a popular holiday home destination for the Hong Kong wealthy, whether expats or long-time residents, but the seemingly never-ending riots have caused a sizeable increase in the numbers of visitors who’re actively looking to purchase homes overseas.

The exodus began some five years ago, with a trickle of semi-retired professionals and bankers coming up for retirement arriving in Penang for a visit and staying once they’d found a suitable property at prices between RM1million and rRM2.5 million. One of the reasons for Malaysia's popularity is it’s just a short 2.5 hour flight away from Hong Kong, allowing for day trips and short stays to visit families and friends back home.

Media reports on the Hong Kong situation as well as a recent survey are suggesting Hong Kong has irrevocably lost its status as a preferred location for top-talent expat professionals. It seems to be not just the riots which are fuelling the exodus, as soaring property prices and the cost of living as well as long working hours have taken their toll on both the local and expat populations.

Another attraction of Penang is that living costs are significantly lower than in Hong Kong. According to a leading real estate agency, the price of upscale property is far less in Penang, and those planning to arrive with their families will find international schools and other necessities easier and cheaper to access. For those retirees with less than a small fortune to invest, Malaysia’s My Second Home programme allows retirees to be granted a residency visa for an investment of around USD166,000.

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